If you have read the previous tutorial about converting your photograph to black and white but wanted a few more tips and tricks then the following is for you.
I’m going to assume that you have read the previous tutorial on the different ways of converting an image to black and white so will not go into all the details again.
For this example we are going to use a Black & White adjustment layer.
Open up your image and add a black and white adjustment layer as we did in the previous tutorial. From the “Preset” drop down list select the preset that most closely resembles the effect you want to achieve.
This is where the fun begins. In the Black & White adjustment layer dialogue there is a small symbol which looks like a hand with two arrows. This is a adjustment scrubby slider icon. Click the icon and move you cursor over you image.
You can now click and drag on the image to change the settings. Dragging to the left make the selected area darker and dragging to the right makes the area lighter.
I clicked and dragged the area of (what was blue) sky to the left to make it darker and the area around the girls face to the right to make it lighter. You can see the sliders moving as you do this.
Keep adjusting your image until you are happy with the final result.
Click the “Fly Out” menu icon in the very top right of the Adjustment dialogue box, it looks like three horizontal lines. You will get a new menu. From the menu select “Save Black & White Preset” and give your new preset a suitable name. Now you can come back and use your new preset time and time again.
Most images converted to Black & White will benefit from adding a little contrast. The best way to do this is by using a Curves Adjustment Layer.
Add a new curves adjustment layer to your image and then start to adjust the contrast. You can do this by directly clicking and dragging the curve but there is also a better way to adjust the contrast.
The Curves Adjustment layer dialogue box has a scrubby slider adjustment icon just like the Black & White Adjustment Layer dialogue.
Click on the scrubby slider icon and then you can click in your image and drag up or down to adjust the brightness of each tonal value. It takes a bit of practice to get the best result with this tool but the time is well spent.
Try not to make any of the light areas in the image darker than the dark areas! This sounds a bit odd but you will understand when you try for yourself.
Small changes are normally better than big so you want to start out easy and make your way up to big changes.
Once you have got a result you like you can save your image or you could go one step further and add some “Film Grain” to complete the effect.